Amazon planning drive-through grocery stores
Amazon is planning to open a drive-through grocery store in Silicon Valley, allowing customers to order items online and then collect them from a designated pick-up point at a pre-arranged time.
The world’s biggest online retailer already operates a grocery delivery service in the US called Amazon Fresh, as well as a service called Amazon Locker that lets customers pick up their orders from a local place.
There have also been repeated rumours that Amazon plans to open physical shops, that would allow people to browse and purchase items in-store, although the company has never confirmed these rumours.
Now a person familiar with Amazon’s plans has told Silicon Valley Business Journal that the retailer is planning to open its first drive-through in Sunnyvale, California, where a real estate developer has submitted plans for a new 11,600-square-foot building and grocery pickup area.
Amazon itself is not named in planning documents, but real estate sources familiar with the matter told the Journal that Amazon is the likely tenant. City officials said they were not able to confirm the name of the company behind the development.
The building will be mostly warehouse with a designated eight-stall car pickup area, according to documents submitted to the city of Sunnyvale by the real estate developer, Oppidan Investment.
Customers will pre-order their “grocery and other retail items,” then choose a specific 15-minute to two-hour pickup window, a planning application states. They can also “arrive on foot or bicycle and pick up their groceries and other retail items in the store”.
The launch of a standalone drive-through store would signal a new phase in the company’s evolving retail ambitions, leveraging its world-class logistics and distribution operation.
Amazon recently overtook Walmart to become the largest US retailer by market capitalisation, after revenues soared 19.9pc in the second quarter to $23.19bn, beating Wall Street expectations of $22.39bn.
Sales in the US, Amazon’s biggest market, rose 25.5pc compared with the same period last year, to $13.8bn on strong demand for electronics and general merchandise.
The company is also exploring the possibility of launching a drone delivery service known as "Prime Air", which would use small unmanned aircraft to get purchases into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less.